What Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Has To Say On Obama’s Visit To Malaysia

President Barack Obama’s visit is a recognition of Malaysia’s growing role in the international stage as KL is getting ready to take over the Asean chairmanship next year and seeking a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.

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PHOTO: An LED billboard put up in Putrajaya welcoming Obama to Malaysia. The US President arrived here today, 26 April 2014, at Subang.

Grand welcome: An LED billboard has been put up in Putrajaya in conjunction with Obama’s visit to Malaysia.

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Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Obama’s visit came as Malaysia was ascending to prominent leadership positions on the international stage

US President Barack Obama is greeted by Minister of Foreign Affair Datuk seri Anifah Aman and Minister of sport and Youth Khairy Jamalludin upon his arrival.

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Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia was ready to strengthen its engagement with the United States as Kuala Lumpur grew into the role as one of the region’s “middle powers”.

“The year 2015 will see Malaysia taking over the chairmanship of Asean at a pivotal point when the Asean economic community is announced. We are also vying for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the fourth time in the country’s young history.

Obama’s maiden visit here provided a timely opportunity for both sides to reflect on the progress in bilateral ties and chart a way for the future at a time when KL-Washington relations were at a zenith, Anifah said

US President Barack Obama is greeted by Foreign Minister Datuk seri Anifah Aman upon his arrival at RMAF air base in Subang on Apr 26, 2014

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“We’ll take the opportunity to highlight our bid to President Obama. Therefore, we view the visit as America’s recognition of Malaysia’s rising international influence and we are ready to strengthen our engagement with the United States as we grow into our role as one of the region’s ‘middle powers’,” he told a media briefing yesterday.

“The visit will set the path for our relationship in the years to come. It is an important milestone in our bilateral relations and I am confident that it will serve to strengthen our good relations with the United States for the mutual benefit of both countries,” he said.

On Malaysia’s view of China and the United States in handling of the South China Sea issues, Anifah said it was important that both countries played a positive role

“It is not a question of picking sides as the region needs both countries. The real question is how to manage the different relationships to ensure stability, peace and prosperity,” he said. China claims virtually the entire South China Sea.

Anifah said Malaysia welcomed the pledge by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Asean Summit not to use force in resolving the matter. He said stability in the South China Sea would be one of Malaysia’s main priorities when it assumed the Asean chairmanship next year.

He also noted the good rapport between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib and President Obama

File picture of Najib and Obama

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He said the visit would be an opportunity for Malaysia to profile its home-grown Global Movement of Moderates to the United States, referring to the initiative which promoted moderation as an approach towards global peace and justice.

PHOTO: US President Barack Obama accompanied by the Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin on arrival today at the RMAF base in Subang

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